I feel like the topic of drinking and partying seems kind of taboo within the cancer survivor community. I also feel like it is an important topic to cover, so I thought I would share my experience and thoughts on it. When first entering college, there are a lot of questions and opportunities that arise. The only person that you have to answer to is yourself. You are faced with decisions daily of what to do and how to spend your time. One of these decisions is whether to drink or not. As cancer survivors we have a more astute awareness of our bodies, especially because we have an increased chance of getting another type of cancer within our lifetime and that our bodies, particularly our livers, have been overworked with chemicals. Due to these things, the choices that we face in college are that much more detrimental. Although we would like to think of ourselves as normal teenagers or young adults, we cannot live precariously and must take into account the limits of our bodies so that we may avoid future complications. There are many times when I get frustrated that I have to consider my limitations more than a normal healthy young adult would have to, but it is definitely not worth the risk. Many young people tend to live their lives in the now, not thinking of the consequences of tomorrow, which can be very hazardous. So although it seems troublesome that we have a higher awareness of ourselves and our health, it is in fact a blessing. I personally do not believe that complete abstinence of alcohol is absolutely necessary in most cases, but that instead moderation is always key. Because although we are now aware of the fragility of life, we are also aware that it cannot be taken for granted either. Once in awhile it is okay to go out to a party, go downtown, and have a couple of drinks, as long as it is done responsibly. No binge drinking, our poor livers have been through enough. Also take into account the effect that alcohol has on sleep patterns. As I have stressed before, sleep is vital to any human but it is especially important for us cancer survivors to function optimally. So make sure that if you are going to go out at night that you can allow yourself enough time to sleep the next day to catch up. The main take home message that I would like to get out there is that moderation is key. Do not live dangerously and take your second chance at life for granted, but at the same time what kind of life would it be without a little bit of responsible indulgence?
*I feel the need to write some “small print” per se about this topic. I am in no way in the position to give medical advice. Everyone’s case is different and depends upon their medical history and personal convictions.